Yes, it’s Summer Stock! A glorious technicolor throwback to the simple days when a barn could double as a multimedia entertainment center!
Our story starts with Judy as farmer Jane Falbury. Once again, Judy allowed the legion of homosexual costumers to put her in something outrageously unflattering. She and her housemaid Esme, played by the glorious Marjorie Main, are distressed to discover that their two farm hands are leaving them for a better job. Honey, if your farm hands are closing in on their 80th birthdays, how hard can it be to take up the slack?
Regardless, she goes to visit her fiance, Orville (Eddie Bracken) and his meddling father to hit them up for a new tractor. They feel so bad for her that she has to run around in those hideous overalls, they immediately agree to give her one so they won’t have to look at her.
This of course leads (like so many things) to her singing at the top of her lungs.
After singing and driving around in the real world for a while, she heads to the giant backlot set that is her farm, where she is shocked to discover pandemonium.
She tracks down her sister Abigail (Gloria DeHaven) who’s clearly been set up as “the pretty one,” which means we hate her on sight. Abigail introduces Jane to her boyfriend Joe, who’s going to use the barn to mount Abigail.
A show! He’s going to use the barn to mount a show. Judy is thrilled by neither prospect. She’s all “Get your song-and-dance ass out of my barn! I’ve got cows to milk!”
Later Abigail has it out with Judy. “You don’t care about me…blahblahblah!” Judy’s all “Look, bitch. I’m the one who’s been keeping this farm going while you traipse off to follow your latest dream and besides, look at the shitty clothes they keep putting me in! I look like a prison matron!”
Relenting, Judy heads down to the kitchen and tells the thrilled company that they can stay and put on their show…
…but they have to help her run the farm to earn their keep. They’re none too thrilled about that, but Gene uses his unique charms to talk them into it:
Phil Silvers is annoying as hell but we’ll never get tired of Gene Kelly’s ass.
The next day as these hoofers and singers are fucking up the farm chores, Orville shows up. He’s very concerned about what the rest of the town is going to think about Judy’s little free-love commune here. Judy goes off with him to reassure him that she knows what she’s doing and these folks are a great help to her on the farm.
While they’re destroying her tractor, she’s reassuring Orville and his meddling father that it will all work out and they should stop being so damn judgmental. After all, aren’t they using her barn tonight for a dance?
Why yes, they are. This town desperately needs some sort of social center.
Gene tells the company to sit in the rafters and stay out of the way. They smugly watch the bohunks fumble their way through a dance. We kinda want to slap those looks right off their faces.
Meanwhile, Gene is off with the cute skinny dancer whose name we can never remember trying to figure out how to salvage the tractor before Judy finds out about it.
Some bratty kid finds out about the tractor and Gene grabs Judy for a square dance so he won’t tell her. What follows is the MGM form of foreplay:
People forget that in addition to her tremendous vocal skills, Judy was one HELL of a dancer. We keep playing this clip over and over and staring at their feet. She is step-for-step in line with Gene fucking Kelly, y’all.
Anyway, Orville and his father get all narrow-minded and judgmental on her ass and she gets pissed. “You know what? I’m taking that tractor right back tomorrow just so I don’t have to listen to this shit anymore!”
The next morning, Judy is PISSED. She stomps up to Abigail’s room and yells at her. “Get your skinny lace-covered ass outta that bed and milk some fucking cows, you whore!”
When she stomps downstairs to abuse her guests, she’s shocked (but we’re not) to find that they bought her a brand new tractor.
When she discovers that Gene sold his car to pay for it, we start counting the minutes until they start making out.
Orville stops by to apologize for being such a narrow-minded prick but Judy tears into him instead. Oh yeah, commence making out with Gene. Any second now…
That night, like any farmer, she wanders around her barn in a dress and 4-inch heels, when Gene comes upon her and starts singing. We all know what that means, don’t we kittens?
Yep. That’s your sister’s boyfriend, you little minx. Of course your sister’s a skinny bitch with a better wardrobe, so who can blame you? Plus, you know…Gene Kelly’s ass.
After making out with Gene in the barn, she heads into the house and agrees to set a date for the wedding with Orville. Sure it makes no sense, but the movie would be a lot shorter if they didn’t set up SOME sort of conflict.
Gene overhears the whole thing and offers the least heartfelt congratulations you’re ever going to hear. He tells her to just forget about the kiss in the barn and Judy’s eyes do that Judy thing where they fill up with about a quart of water but never actually drop any tears.
How did she do that? Liza can do the same thing.
The next day, Abigail is being a hardcore bitch in rehearsals. There’s a shock.
Later, she leaves a note telling them that she got a better offer in a show in New York and she’s run off once again, leaving them without a leading lady. Whatever will they do?
It’s cute how they even bothered to shoot a scene with Judy protesting. Like we’re all supposed to believe that there’s a possibility that she WON’T get up on stage.
Later, Marjorie Main, fresh in from her Mennonite meeting, tells Judy that the whole town is abuzz about the scandalous goings-on at the Falbury farm and there’s a rumor that Orville vowed to shut down the show.
Judy shows a little spine and she storms into the town aldermen’s meeting and informs Orville’s father that if he tries anything, Orville’s balls are going to get shredded in a farm equipment “accident.”
What is an alderman anyway?
That night: Big Opening! We love that we’re supposed to believe that this is taking place in a barn.
Gene’s all “Look, you lisping queens, you can put her in any kind of ugly shit you want, but I did NOT sign on to look like a total dork.”
The only reason we took this screencap is because this totally looks like something that should be on Planet Fabulon.
They look like a bowl of after dinner mints.
Anyway, strap yourselves in, darlings:
This is Judy at her JUDY-EST. What a fantastic, iconic performance. And yes, she’s about 20 pounds thinner here because this was shot a month or two after the movie wrapped.
Orville shows up with Abigail (who is FABULOUSLY dressed) and informs Judy that she’ll be taking over her part. Judy’s all “Oh YEAH? Well FUCK OFF, because I’m killing them out there and besides, I want to make out with Gene a little more!”
Which she does. Abigail finally gets it and tries to talk Orville down. When he won’t calm down, she knocks him out with her purse so the show can go on.
Which of course means, they immediately fall in love. We imagine their future marriage included a dungeon in the basement. Anyway, all’s well that ends well. Time for Judy to put on yet another horrendously unflattering outfit:
And yet, somehow, Gene looks hot in it.
Tags: Musical Monday